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by Kathleen Menéndez

Pyrography News From Around the World

Newsletter No. 22, Page Two of Three


Page One:
- Irene Corgiat and the Shroud of Turin

Page Two:
- Michael Janson on Pyro and Computer Graphics

Page Three:
- Jim Hicks--Portraits in Pyrography and Chalk
- Michael Mabbott--Solar Pyroengravings
- Home

Michael Janson on Pyro and Computer Graphics

Oval Object
by Michael Janson

Pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist

An Intro Class from St. Petersburg

Graphic artist and professor of computer graphics Michael Janson of St. Petersburg has been expanding his pyrographic abstracts since we first read about him in the summer of 2001 in Pyrograffiti 12. Michael began scanning his "pyropieces" (as he calls them) for that article, which was his internet debut.

When he wrote last December he included his work above entitled Oval Object, "created," he said, "by the influence/impression of art of South American Indians." "It's not just borrowed from it," he continued, "but I speak about the meaning of shape and principles of its transformation."

He asked at that time what I thought about the theme of Pyrography and Computer Graphics. I agreed the topic would be of great interest to all of us. He soon sent along his introductory lecture and the following five variations--"computer transformations," he called them, which he created on his computer from his original pyrograph Oval Object.

His writing was so helpful, clear (he's a talented teacher, too) and charming (you can almost hear a slight Russian accent as you read) that I thought you would enjoy reading his innovative lecture just as he wrote it.

Thank you, Michael, from all of us. And Happy Anniversary to your great city and cultural center of St. Petersburg celebrating its tricentennial this year!

Pyrography as e-image

Combination of Pyrography and PC is not an exotic one. Our association (I.A.P.A.) is the great result of their alliance. But the real basis of our professional intercourse is e-image. Without it we can only speak about our work. Of course, we can make photos and send them by airmail... But this way fits/suits only for small group, not for hundreds or even thousands of members.

And I ask you: what is the difference (the difference of principle!) between the photo of pyro and the e-image of pyro? So, "pyrography as e-image" is our everyday-net-reality. That is the fact.

Oval Object (Computer Version No. 1)
by Michael Janson

Computer manipulated image derived from original pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist

Time to Play

When something transforms into e-image, there is only one step to computer graphics temptation... But my reason was another: I like pyrography and I don't like computer graphics. I like pyrography for its unique colouring and aura [Webster: a subtle influence or quality emanating from or surrounding a person or object]. I don't like computer graphics (CG) for its facelessness, coldness and aggression. But CG technology give me the wonderful possibility to contemplate my pyroimage (image, not the real pyropiece!) and to play with it.

You may ask: Michael, why do you "play" with your image AFTER your pyrowork, not DURING?

Oval Object (Computer Version No. 2)
by Michael Janson

Computer manipulated image derived from original pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist

Microscope and Telescope

You know that the temperature behaviour of material has many problems. So, when I do my pyrography, my attention concentrates on the very small area around instrument contact with paper or wood. I see my composition as a whole only from time to time. This phase of work I call microscope. When pyrowork is over and I have e-image, the phase, which I call telescope, begins. There are no problems with material or instrument. I can look at my picture in various orientations, details, fragments, frames, etc.

Technique. I use CorelXARA2.0. With the help of Fill Tool (Bitmap) I choose [best of] lovely pictures on display and save them as new pyro-comp-works. My first (and last) rule is to keep carefully the great charm of pyrography. That's all.

Oval Object (Computer Version No. 3)
by Michael Janson

Computer manipulated image derived from original pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist


My story is not full without one detail: my pyroworks are improvisations. I haven't clear plan or idea every time I begin to work. I have only wish to do something and mood to do somehow. That is why the process of creating a picture is interesting for me on all steps. Even when the work is over...

Oval Object (Computer Version No. 4)
by Michael Janson

Computer manipulated image derived from original pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist


At the beginning of cinema people made their first movies using the experience of theatre. Only years later they began to recognize the cinema as an independent form of the art with its own great possibilities. It was very difficult and long process. And the same situation you may see in pyrography: people take photos or drawings or paintings and translate them into pyrography. What for? If we want pyrography to be one of the fine arts we must stop retelling another's subjects.

I think that pyrography as e-image must be [its own] separate category.

Diagram of Concept
by Michael Janson

Image courtesy of the artist

Its Own Category

Michael explains the concept of pyrography as e-image in this way: "This technology gives the easy possibility for producing new e-images. Though they haven't got the real pyro-prototype, they look like e-images of pyrography (on paper). So, we can say: this technology 'looks like' pyrography. But it is not the imitation. It is the continuation of pyrography in E-space. "

"I don't separate, I understand the process as a whole unending process."

Oval Object (Computer Version No. 5)
by Michael Janson

Computer manipulated image derived from original pyrography on paper

Image courtesy of the artist

Closing Thoughts

I remembered I saw on TV "Blow-up" by Antonioni. It's my favourite film. There you can clearly watch the process of working with any visual image. The hero of the film makes his photos without understanding the situation. He understands it only in the process of contemplating his photos. And that's what I do. There are specific differences between pyrography and photography. But the main idea is constant: at first you must get the image and only then you may investigate it.

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2003, Kathleen M. Garvey Menéndez, all rights reserved.